How to Start Building a Brand New Author Platform from Scratch
So you’ve decided to take the leap and become an author! That’s awesome!
But have you quite figured out how you’re going to build your author brand?
I get this question a lot. How can you establish yourself as an author? Is it just writing good books?
Don’t get me wrong. Writing great work is definitely an important part of becoming a successful author. But with an abundance of authors out there in the world, it’s essential that you can set yourself a cut above the rest. And that comes from marketing.
Building a solid, credible author brand can be what sets you apart from all the other authors out there. Let’s look into how you can create your author platform from the ground up.
Determine exactly who you want to be.
Before you get too gung-ho about platform building, you need to get a bit introspective.
Who is it that you want to be in the writing community and who do you want others to see you as?
Do you want to be a celebrity writer who takes backtalk from no one? Or do you want to be a role model for younger writers? Maybe you just want to be one of the masses that specifically targets a particular audience.
Whatever it is you’re trying to achieve, you need to determine it upfront. This vision will be the basis of everything you’re trying to achieve.
One cool way to do this is to create a vision board or plan that visually shows what you’re striving for. It’s kind of like an outline for your brand, similar to how you would create an outline for your book.
Place that board or sheet somewhere you can see it everyday and use it for motivation moving forward.
Build a killer website
If you’re going to be an author in today’s day and age, you’re going to need a killer website. Your website is one of the most important things you can have as an author.
It’s a place for you to display your work (for advertisement or sale), build credibility and authority, communicate with your readership, and network with publishers or clients.
In many ways, it’s the command center of your author platform.
But take note, your website is only as good as you make it out to be. If you want to save a few bucks and design it yourself, more power to you. However, if site design isn’t your forte… You may want to use a pre-built theme or hire some help.
Launch your mailing list
Now that we’ve determined how important your website is, let’s talk about the most important thing to come from your website. Your mailing list.
Establishing a mailing list is critical to not only building your author platform, but to your continued success as an author.
You need to look at your mailing list as the first part of your targeted audience. If people like who you are and what you have to offer, they’ll sign up. And they’ll most likely be the first to buy your books and support you.
When building your mailing list, you need to make it clear and easy to sign up for. The sign-up form should appear as a pop-up window or at the top of your website so it will be among the first things seen. You want to make it easy to convert your readers into subscribers.
Become present on social media.
Social media for writers is becoming one of the biggest ways authors can get their name out there. Not only that, but it provides a means of direct contact with your readers.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even Goodreads are great places to start getting active. And the more active, the better. Your followers or potential readers will love seeing your engagement.
But be wary about social media. Don’t try to spread yourself too thin. It’s often best to focus on just one or two platforms instead of trying to hit them all.
Analyze and make adjustments as needed.
The world is a fickle place. What works now is surely not guaranteed to work in the future.
So when you first start constructing your author platform, look for trends and signs from your subscribers.
What does your website traffic look like? Are you seeing changes when you adjust your website? Or what about your social media? Are you getting too little engagement? Maybe you’re posting too much or not enough.
Creating an author platform is just as much a balancing act as it is a building process. It takes time and patience to get it just right. Just be sure to monitor what’s going on with your platform and adjust as necessary.
Good luck on your author journey!